The Lebanon Farmers Market has opened for a new season and there are a handful of new booths to visit alongside the old favorites.
One of the new vendors is a start-up coffee roaster, Lebanon-based Incite Coffee, founded by Marc and Jami Aitkin with their son, Ryan.
Marc Aitkin has been roasting his own coffee for about 20 years and started working on a commercial coffee venture two years ago.
“I’ve had a couple of number of different roasters. Built a couple coffee roasters. It’s just been a passion of mine. I had all the experience I needed, just needed a commercial roaster,” Aitkin said.
The farmers market is an ideal way to introduce their coffee to the public.
“A surprising number of out-of-town people have come through and bought coffee. I even have people wanting me to ship coffee to them. So nothing but great feedback,” Aitkin said.
In the long run, the Aitkins are considering opening their own coffee house, but for now, the market is an ideal spot to get started.
Right next to Incite Coffee is the Natural Sprinkles Co., which is also new to the farmers market.
This bakery has a location in downtown Albany and is using the farmers market to expand its presence into Lebanon.
“We’re an all-natural bakery. We don’t have any artificial flavoring,” said Kacie Church, a Natural Sprinkles employee who worked the booth on Thursday. “We specialize in cupcakes, wedding cakes, birthday cakes, et cetera. All of our cupcakes are gluten free. We do have gluten-free and vegan cupcakes, as well.”
Chris Bayne, the manager of the Lebanon and Sweet Home farmers markets, said the Lebanon location is operating at near-capacity and will be completely full later this summer when the full complement of fruit and produce vendors are on site.
“We have added quite a few new vendors this year,” Bayne said, adding that in addition to the Incite Coffee and Natural Sprinkles, there is also a new honey vendor and a new booth devoted solely to mushrooms.
Bayne said the fruit and produce booths are beginning to fill up as summer begins. Strawberries will run for another week or two while blueberries are just starting to arrive, Bayne said.
“It’s definitely filling up this year,” Bayne said.
This was the first week of the season at the market for Berkey’s Blueberries, which is located off Berlin Road. Cheryl Berkey said it was a good spring for blueberries, with plenty of rain in the spring.
Their five-acre farm is certified organic and they provide blueberries to nine farmers markets each week, ranging from Bend to Newport and from Eugene to Portland.
“We sell fresh, totally fresh to the farmers markets,” Berkey said.
The Lebanon Farmers Market is open from 2 to 6 p.m. each Thursday through October.